Don’t give ‘stuff’, eat low fat and declutter - tips for a sensible Christmas

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. PHOTO; Matthew Usher

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. PHOTO; Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

In just a few days it will be Christmas and a lot of new stuff will be coming into your life whether you want it or not, so it's a good idea to have a bit of a de-clutter ahead of the day.

Marianne Gibbs who has set up a recycling bank specifically for women to donate their old bras to be

Marianne Gibbs who has set up a recycling bank specifically for women to donate their old bras to be recycled.Its been set up at Brundall Memorial Hall in the ladies toilets.Picture: James BassCopy: Tracey GrayFor: EN NewsEvening News © 2009 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Evening News © 2009

I'm not talking about a major clear out it's already too late for that, especially if you have all your decorations up.

No, what I'm proposing is just a gentle tour through the house, room by room, with a carrier bag in your hand putting into it anything you know you can easily part with and can send to a charity shop in the New Year.

The type of things I'm thinking about is a book you've had for more than two years that hasn't been read.

If you've had it that long and haven't read it, is it really likely that you ever will? In any case if the time ever comes when you find you really do want to read it you can borrow it from the library.

Same thing applies to CDs, DVDs, cassettes and anything else that's unlikely to be used again. Re-home them via one of the many charity shops, someone will want what you don't.

Once you've done that, start on your un-used toiletries.

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Most people get plenty of gift sets in fragrances they don't really like or nothing they've been given matches anything else - that's one of the reasons they haven't been used.

It's no good hanging on to these things in the hope that somebody will give you something that will pull all the odd items together so you can use them at last.

If you really wanted that, you could have bought it for yourself during the course of the year.

Put everything you've collected up somewhere dry outside the house, (boot of the car?); ready to dispose of once the festivities are over.

Looking forward - on the big day itself, as you open your presents, consider whether you really want to keep them or not. Obviously, be a bit tactful about this if the person that gave you the unwanted gift is in the room when you open your gift but do at least make a mental note to put it with the other things you are going to dispose of as soon as you can.

I expect you've bought most of your gifts for other people already but if you haven't, can I please plead with you not to give 'stuff'.

Most people have more than enough already and unless you know they really will want and appreciate what you are about to give them, try giving them an experience instead.

What I'm thinking of is theatre tickets, a voucher for a restaurant meal, or why not pay for an adult education course of their choice?

These will be much more appreciated than something they may have to dispose of discreetly once your back is turned.

When it comes to the Christmas meal – less can be more. No one wants to step on the scales in the New Year and find they've put on five pounds.

Have some Satsumas as well as mince pies on offer and don't suggest second helpings to people who have been struggling with their weight all year.

Low fat chipolatas, roast vegetables sprayed with oil rather than drenched in it, and half fat cream on the pud will pass unnoticed as part of a huge meal and be better for everyone.

None of the above advice applies to booze or chocolates. I'm not a goody two shoes. Merry Christmas.